Johannesburg - Murdered former football striker Marc Batchelor’s life took a turn for the worst when he lost his job as an analyst on Supersport, his friend Archie Henson told mourners.
Batchelor was laid to rest on Thursday afternoon after he was murdered in a suspected hit outside his Olivedale home last Monday night. Two men in motorbikes sprayed his BMW with bullets, killing him.
His church service was held at The Crossing Church in Midrand, a church he attended for the past four years, said Pastor Tony Sivewright.
No arrests have been made in connection with his murder.
“I hope they catch the monsters who are responsible for this heinous crime. As I look around this room here today, I’m reminded of what great friends Batch made over the years,” said Henson, who said he had been close with Batchelor in the past few years.
He said Batchelor changed, and some of his old and dear friends, could not even recognise who he was anymore.
“Some of you would have seen Batch change over time to someone we never knew,” he said listing a long list of close friends.
“The Batch they heard about in the news who had been involved in an assault, his real friends didn’t know this guy. The truth of the matter was, Marc made a lot of bad choices, with the company he kept, to the business dealings he made.
“That caused him to lose contact with many of the people who cared about him. Over the last two years I got to spend a lot of time with Marc and I asked him why he made the choices he made.
“He said he regretted the people he had hurt and ignored, he explained that after he retiring from soccer and losing his Supersport contract, finances did become an issue,” said Henson.
He said the former footballer was too proud to ask for help from anyone else after falling on hard times, so instead, he got involved with the wrong crowd.
“It would bother him immensely to ask for help, this forced him to become more isolated and anti-social, but he still told people around him everything was fine. He said he had to survive and the way he was living was only temporary,” said Henson.
Batchelor’s older brother, Warren, also told mourners he and Marc had become estranged for nearly three years after losing their father during the same year.
Warren said the family dispute drove them apart and said their relationship was on the mend, until he got the phone call that his brother had been murdered outside his house last Monday night.
“Marc was no angel. In the past few years he lost his way. It was during this time that he pushed me away along with his close friends because of some stupid argument. We were planning to reconcile and then I got that call,” said Warren, before crying on stage.
Former footballer Mark Williams also told mourners he had met all of Batchelor’s friends, and said he did not like his “tattooed friends”, admitting during his tribute that he had been scared of them.
Henson also told mourners Batchelor was in the process of finalizing a business deal, which would have made him enough money to pack up and leave Johannesburg with his wolves, girlfriend Sherry and friend Pexy Nyirongo, who was with him when he was killed.
He had planned to buy land and settle in the outskirts of the country, he said.
“Marc had become quite humble. His greatest joy in his life was spending time with Sherry, who he was playing to get engaged to and walking his wolves, which he did every morning and every evening, without fail, with Pexy his friend.
“I will never forget Batch’s laugh, but that’s just it with Batch, it was the good times, and the happy memories that defined who he was. Being a great friend, a good son and a fragile beautiful human being. Batch, it was an honour to be your mate and you will never be forgotten,” he said.
Williams, who gave an entertaining and journeyed tribute outlining all their scandals together over the years, said Batchelor - who he described as a brother - would be missed.